On 13th December, IPM hosted its final research seminar of the year, which had a festive feel as guests were served mulled wine and mince pies. The seminar brought together over 40 members and international speakers, travelling from as far away as Thailand!

IPM director Professor Ares Kalandides started the proceedings discussing his latest research on citizen participation in Berlin. Ares presented the case of Haus der Statistik, an abandoned modernist building near Alexanderplatz that, through the combination of community action and political will, is being brought back into use as a cultural centre and social centre with accommodation for refugees. Ares uses published documentation about the case, and other schemes and projects in Berlin, to develop a framework to understand citizen participation as both a right and process.  You can read Ares’ full article in the Journal of Place Management and Development, click here to access the article.

Dr Viriya Taecharungroj, who travelled all the way from Thailand in order to speak at the seminar, delivered his presentation in his trademark energetic and entertaining fashion. Viriya discussed his paper that has been recently published in the Journal of Place Management and Development, “User-generated place brand identity: Harassing the power of content on social media platforms”. Viriya explained how his research focuses on two specific areas in Bangkok; Khaosan road and Yaowarat (Bangkok’s Chinatown) and shows the very different views that visitors and city officials have about the areas. You can read Viriya’s full article in the Journal of Place Management and Development, click here to access the resource.

Dr Heather Skinner presented her Christmas present for IPM members, a comprehensive toolkit on the topic of overtourism. Heather explained that she started to develop the toolkit following the ‘summer of overtourism’ in 2017 which saw 538 million international tourists travel into Europe. Heather also explained that tourism is extending into places that have previously been less visited or even described as inhospitable. Dr Skinner’s toolkit aims to address the problems identified by destination managers and offer potential solutions to the various problems. The overtourism toolkit is now available on our website, click here to access the resources.

Helen Darby, Research Impact and Public Engagement Senior Manager at Manchester Metropolitan University, discussed the public engagement partnership with Marketing Manchester - ‘HAUNT Manchester’. Helen explained that HAUNT Manchester is a network and a website bringing together those providing spooky or weird cultural or subcultural offerings in Greater Manchester. The network brings together academic researchers at Manchester Met with cultural organisations and businesses across the city of Manchester. HAUNT Manchester has helped organise numerous events across Manchester in the last couple of years including Manchester gothic festival from 2013-2018. Helen’s ambition is to HAUNT other towns and cities too! Click here to visit HAUNT Manchester’s website.

Dr Thanasis Spyriadis followed Helen’s presentation nicely by discussing ongoing work with Manchester’s 16th Century Cathedral and the inherent difficulties associated with promoting a religious building in both a secular and spiritual way. The research team which includes Dr Maarja Kaaristo, Danielle Allen, Aleksandar Vladimirov as well as Thanasis have undertaken visitor surveys as well as interviewing key informants and ‘neighbours’ to make recommendations to increase the Cathedral’s popularity. Recommendations from the research include better training for volunteers, design improvements on their website, and building partnerships with local festivals.

Finally, Dr Nick Piercey presented his initial research with the provisional title ‘Freedom or control?: Sites of physical culture in the Netherlands around 1900’. The research presented was particularly fresh as Nick only returned from his fact finding mission in the Netherlands two weeks ago. In his presentation, Nick explored how sporting arenas, promoted as sites of physical freedom, also restrict and control people. It was a thought-provoking presentation that enabled the audience to question the modern-day function of many spaces.

We would like to thank all the presenters and other members for attending the seminar. The next research seminar will be in the new year on 21st February. We hope to see you there!